Drought-stricken Northwest Georgia Counties Declared Natural Disaster Areas

Dave Williams

Wednesday, November 8th, 2023

Capitol Beat is a nonprofit news service operated by the Georgia Press Educational Foundation that provides coverage of state government to newspapers throughout Georgia. For more information visit capitol-beat.org.

Four Northwest Georgia counties have been declared natural disaster areas due to weeks of severe drought conditions.

The declaration will allow farmers in Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade, and Walker counties to receive emergency credit from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA).

“As a seventh generation farmer, I know firsthand the impact drought conditions can have on our agriculture industry, especially those with dryland operations,” Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Tyler Harper said.

“The lack of moisture in the soil impacts every aspect of an agricultural operation, from delaying winter grains to forcing farmers to purchase hay to feed their cattle. We’re grateful to (U.S. Agriculture) Secretary (Tom) Vilsack for recognizing the importance of providing essential assistance to our Northwest Georgia farmers.”

FSA loans can be used to meet various drought recovery requirements, including replacing such essential items as farm equipment or livestock, reorganizing a farming operation, or refinancing loans. The federal agency reviews all loans based on the extent of losses, available security, and repayment ability.

Georgia farmers and producers in the four disaster counties as well as the contiguous counties of Floyd, Gordon, and Whitfield may apply for assistance.